Trend Alert: The Chiptole-ization of Pizza

Aug 28, 2012 | Company News, Food

By Lesley Balla

Subway did it for sandwiches, and Chipotle did it for burritos. The idea that you can walk into a place, tell someone exactly how you want your food while walking down a line and have it made fresh in front of your eyes was a novel. Turns out it still is. Customized, hot-out-of-the-oven pizza is the next big trend here in LA – fresh dough patted out, topped with sauce and quality toppings of your choice, and then fired in a wood-burning oven only to be delivered in mere minutes from the time you ordered it.

But every pizza is customizable, you say. True. But these are fancy, wood-fired, artisanal pizzas a la minute. You get them by the time you make your way to the cash register to pay. Genius, really, as long as it works.

The Umami group’s 800 Degrees was the first to do this with its Westwood cafe. If you can break through the constant line, you’ll find some fine fired pies cooked in the signature oven, all taking just a minute to cook, coming out hot with bubbly ridges and toppings like rock shrimp, truffle cheese and capers. The plan is to open more both in and outside of LA (10889 Lindbrook Dr.; 424-239-5010).

Of course, this being LA, the land of trendsetters and followers, others are jumping into the same pool. Squid Ink tells us that Clusi Batusi opened on Sawtelle Boulevard in West LA, a new concept from first-time restaurateurs, including a chef who went to culinary school in Italy. He uses ingredients such as meatballs, balsamic mushrooms, octopus, sausage and asparagus for the 10-inch pies, and fires them in a 1200-degree oven (2047 Sawtelle Blvd.).

And last April, PizzaRev opened a “test kitchen” in Northridge, and is slated to open a new location in Studio City (12103 Ventura Blvd.) at the end of September. The pizza here has more of a thin crust and come out in under three minutes. There’s something for everyone, including vegan toppings and gluten-free crust, plus a dessert pizza with frosting and chocolate, caramel or raspberry sauce, and all are only $8 (9410 Reseda Blvd.).